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Help an Elderly Family Member Realize They Must Stop Driving

When a loved one ages, it is difficult to address specific challenges and changes such as moving from their home, hanging up their car keys for good, and addressing any symptoms which indicate serious medical conditions. Every family is different and there is no one way to address these changes.

When it comes to driving in the state of Florida, especially in a city like Miami, you need to constantly remain aware of your surroundings. If a loved one is starting to present significant danger to themselves and other drivers, take certain precautions to help them realize it is time to give up driving for good.

elderly drivers

It is a medical fact that elderly people undergo physical changes which impact their ability to be a safe driver. It is common for senior citizens to have slower reflexes which are required for reacting to unexpected incidents on the road, side effects from medications which interact to cause major medical concerns, and loss of clarity in vision or hearing.

Some things to take note of when you are worried about a person you love is to gather facts about the person’s condition. Telltale signs might include:

  • Problems turning the head, neck, and body
  • Decreased strength for holding up the arms and turning the wheel
  • Frustration, anger, and confusion which occurs while driving
  • Failure to notice or yield to pedestrians or other drivers that clearly have the right of way
  • Getting overwhelmed or lost in familiar neighborhoods or areas of town
  • Difficulty seeing either at night or during the day
  • Distraction when an object on the side of the road catches their eye
  • Many recent accidents or near misses
  • New nicks or dents on the exterior of the vehicle

Collecting information to present to your loved one helps support your ‘case’ in convincing them to give up driving for good. They may not realize just how much their ability to drive has been altered until you remind them what it used to be like and express your genuine concern. The loss of independence is a tough pill to swallow for most people. The best way to relate to a loved one is to put yourself in the shoes of a person losing their license.

Also Read : A Complete Guide to Car Accidents

As mentioned earlier, there are many methods you can use to convince a family member to give up driving but a lot of it relates to your individual situation. When approaching an aging loved one about getting rid of their car keys for good, follow this advice:

  • Convince the person by presenting evidence to them concerning any observations you have made while in the vehicle with your loved one.
  • Ask their friends and family members for support. Sometimes getting advice from a child or younger family member is not the same as getting advice from a sibling, a best friend, or even a religious leader.
  • Show your loved one that they will still be able to get around because of a support network you have lined up for them. Family, friends, and neighbors are likely to help out. You will be surprised to see just how many people actually care because someone they knew helped out a loved one in the past. Sometimes all you need to do is ask to get the help you need.
  • Learn more about shuttle services offered by area senior centers and charities. If the hanging up of the car keys coincides with your loved one moving into assisted living, they will likely get transportation with the help of their center. Most places do things like visit the mall on a regular basis and go to the grocery store every week.
  • Start a discussion about an accident you heard about and just how much it hurts you to worry about a person you love. Some people relate to emotional appeals more than they do to facts.
  • On the other hand, some people do not relate to emotional appeals. You might just need to use a little bit of tough love and lay out the facts to your loved on. There is probably someone in your family that has a strong enough relationship with the elderly person to be flat out honest and even demand the giving up of a driver’s license.

Florida has implemented several standards for the renewal of driver’s licenses. While these do not relate just to the elderly, many of these laws are used on the state’s behalf to getting an elderly person that is dangerous to others off the road. The laws that may affect you or a loved one include:

  • In signs of physical or mental impairment, a road test may need to be completed. A police officer, a doctor, a family member, or a member of the public can file a report requesting this test (although every report does not lead to a test).
  • Vision test with every license renewal.
  • Requirement of a written test based if the driving history of the person indicates impairment. Again, a report can be filed but not every report leads to a test.
  • For drivers aged 80 and above, a vision test is mandatory on a regular basis in order to renew a license.

Hopefully, you will never have to resort to using the law to help you keep a loved one off the road. Hurting someone’s feelings is completely worth it when it means preventing injury, harm or even death to another person. Wouldn’t you rather have someone you love upset with you temporarily than suffering for the rest of their life because of preventable injury or because they injured someone else?

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